Happy New Year!
I just had the thought that for the entire year of 2013 I will be living outside of the United States in Mexico. Wooh.
Impressions of Mexico!
1) So we are teaching two investigators named Claye and Agustin that are very poor and living in, let us just say, very humble circumstances. We arrived at their house to teach them a lesson and while we were waiting for them to set up the chairs my companion leans over to me and says, "I really have to go to the bathroom" and I said "Well ask them!". Well...he asked them and they said sure and pointed to literally a solitary toilet that was in the center of their front yard. They then proceeded to walk into their house, shut the door, and told him to tell them when he was done! I just had my back to him and was laughing as he was doing his business.
2) So. I have finally figured out Mexican culture. If you have ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you will know what I am talking about. The way to win the trust, love, respect, etc. of the Mexican people is 1) Eat their food. You have to eat something when you go into their house or you offend. If you reject something they offer you, even if you feel like you are going to barf if you shove one more tortilla down your throat, you just have to eat. Sometimes I literally pray that God will let me finish the taquito without throwing up because I am so full. 2) Listen to them. Mexicans LOVE to talk. Not talk, like have a conversation. They just LOVE to talk to you. You just need to listen and nod in the appropriate moments. For example, one investigator likes to talk so much that our last lesson was literally three hours. THREE HOURS.
3) During these holidays fireworks are super popular. They set them off all through the night. Good thing I am dead tired and it does not bother me.
4) So the Jehovahs Wittnesses are BIG down here. You can always tell who they are because the women always carry umbrellas to guard them from the sun and the men always have sholder bags and wear brightly colored long-sleeved shirts. I always feel slightly uncomfortable when we start to walk down a street and there are literally 20 of them knocking doors in the same street.
Illegal things that Mexicans do in the Open:
1) Sell pirated DVDs. Literally I do not think the legal ones exist.
2) That thing when you raise roosters to fight each other. We ate with a sister and she has literally 60-70 chickens and roosters. I asked her innocently whether she was raising them for the eggs or to eat them or to sell them. She told me, "No, they are the chickens that fight." That is when I noticed the painting on her wall of two roosters brawling to the death. Awkward.
Well, there is some more culture for you all to ponder. I really love the people here. They are the sweetest and most giving people you will ever meet. I am glad that I have the opportunity to serve them for two years of my life. The more I understand their culture and their way of living, the more I love them and want to serve them. That seems to be the pattern, right? The more we serve someone, the more we give of ourselves to help them, the more we love them. I have felt this during my four months here in Mexico.
So, this week was tough. A baptism fell through and we were not able to have very many appointments because of the Holidays and because my companion was very ill. But I am peaceful about where I am. I trust completely in my Heavenly Father. And I am so happy. I guess that is just how I have been feeling. Peaceful. Calm. Hopeful. We currently have 5 investigators with dates to be baptized and we are finding new investigators every week. God is providing miracles for us and blessing us. The members are inviting friends to church and activities. All is well when it comes to missionary work in our little pueblo Coahuixtla.
I just want to let you all know that I love you. That you all mean very much to me and I hope that you are always looking forward to life and not living in the past. Satan would have us live in the past or the future. Constantly worrying about what is to come or feeling guilt and shame about what transpired before. God would have us learn in the present. We have been sharing the message of the wife of Lot with a lot of less-active members that are scared to return to church because of feelings of shame or guilt. I can just imagine what was going through her mind. She was curious, she was focused in the world she left behind, she could not let it go or imagine that things would get any better in the life that lay ahead of her, so she turned back. Always stay present. That is where God is. That is where peace is. That is where we find true happiness.
Well, I love you all. Jesus is the Christ. The Savior of our souls. Yesterday, Today, and Forever. I love him so much for what he did for me. I can never repay him. I just love him and I try to declare his name and teach the Atonement to every man, woman, and child that I can.
Once Again Happy New Year!Elder Nielsen